Member since: Wed Dec 12, 2007, 10:59 PM
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Number of posts: 30,028
After more than 10,000 votes from over 100 countries, the results of Prospect’s world thinkers 2013 poll are in. Online polls often throw up curious results, but this top 10 offers a snapshot of the intellectual trends that dominate our age.
1. Richard Dawkins
When Richard Dawkins, the Oxford evolutionary biologist, coined the term “meme” in The Selfish Gene 37 years ago, he can’t have anticipated its current popularity as a word to describe internet fads. But this is only one of the ways in which he thrives as an intellectual in the internet age. He is also prolific on Twitter, with more than half a million followers—and his success in this poll attests to his popularity online. He uses this platform to attack his old foe, religion, and to promote science and rationalism. Uncompromising as his message may be, he’s not averse to poking fun at himself: in March he made a guest appearance on The Simpsons, lending his voice to a demon version of himself.
2. Ashraf Ghani
Few academics get the chance to put their ideas into practice. But after decades of research into building states at Columbia, Berkeley and Johns Hopkins, followed by a stint at the World Bank, Ashraf Ghani returned to his native Afghanistan to do just that. He served as the country’s finance minister and advised the UN on the transfer of power to the Afghans. He is now in charge of the Afghan Transition Coordination Commission and the Institute for State Effectiveness, applying his experience in Afghanistan elsewhere. He is already looking beyond the current crisis in Syria, raising important questions about what kind of state it will eventually become.
3. Steven Pinker
Long admired for his work on language and cognition, the latest book by the Harvard professor Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature, was a panoramic sweep through history. Marshalling a huge range of evidence, Pinker argued that humanity has become less violent over time. As with Pinker’s previous books, it sparked fierce debate. Whether writing about evolutionary psychology, linguistics or history, what unites Pinker’s work is a fascination with human nature and an enthusiasm for sharing new discoveries in accessible, elegant prose.
4. Ali Allawi
Ali Allawi began his career in 1971 at the World Bank before moving into academia and finally politics, as Iraq’s minister of trade, finance and defence after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Since then he has written a pair of acclaimed books, most recently The Crisis of Islamic Civilisation, and he is currently a senior visiting fellow at Princeton. “His scholarly work on post-Saddam Iraq went further than anyone else has yet done in helping us understand the complex reality of that country,” says Clare Lockhart, co-author (with Ashraf Ghani) of Fixing Failed States. “His continuing work on the Iraqi economy—and that of the broader region—is meanwhile helping to illuminate its potential, as well as pathways to a more stable and productive future.”
5. Paul Krugman
As a fierce critic of the economic policies of the right, Paul Krugman has become something like the global opposition to fiscal austerity. A tireless advocate of Keynesian economics, he has been repeatedly attacked for his insistence that government spending is critical to ending the recession. But as he told Prospect last year, “we’ve just conducted what amounts to a massive experiment on pretty much the entire OECD . It’s been as slam-dunk a victory for a more or less Keynesian view as one can possibly imagine.” His New York Times columns are so widely discussed that it is easy to overlook his academic work, which has won him a Nobel prize and made him one of the world’s most cited economists.
6. Slavoj Žižek
Slavoj Žižek’s critics seem unsure whether to dismiss him as a buffoon or a villain. The New Republic has called him “the most despicable philosopher in the west,” but the Slovenian’s legion of fans continues to grow. He has been giving them plenty to chew on—in the past year alone he has produced a 1,200-page study of Hegel, a book, The Year of Dreaming Dangerously, analysing the Arab Spring and other recent events, and a documentary called The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology. And he has done all this while occupying academic posts at universities in Slovenia, Switzerland and London. His trademark pop culture references (“If you ask me for really dangerous ideological films, I’d say Kung Fu Panda,” he told one interviewer in 2008) may have lost their novelty, but they remain a gentle entry point to his studies of Lacanian psychoanalysis and left-wing ideology.
7. Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen will turn 80 in November—making him the fourth oldest thinker on our list—but he remains one of the world’s most active public intellectuals. He rose to prominence in the early 1980s with his studies of famine. Since then he has gone on to make major contributions to developmental economics, social choice theory and political philosophy. Receiving the Nobel prize for economics in 1998, he was praised for having “restored an ethical dimension to the discussion of vital economic problems.” The author of Prospect’s first cover story in 1995, Sen continues to write influential essays and columns, in the past year arguing against European austerity. And he shows no sign of slowing down or narrowing his focus—his latest book (with Jean Drčze), An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradictions, will be published in July.
8. Peter Higgs
The English physicist Peter Higgs lent his name to the Higgs boson, the subatomic particle discovered last year at Cern that gives mass to other elementary particles. Although Higgs is always quick to point out that others were involved in early work on the existence of the particle, he was central to the first descriptions of the boson in 1964. “Of the various people who contributed to that piece of theory,” Higgs told Prospect in 2011, “I was the only one who pointed to this particle as something that would be… of interest for experimentalists.” Higgs is expected to receive a Nobel prize this year for his achievements.
9. Mohamed ElBaradei
The former director general of the UN’s international atomic energy agency and winner of the 2005 Nobel peace prize, Mohamed ElBaradei has become one of the most prominent advocates of democracy in Egyptian politics over the past two years. Since December, ElBaradei has been the coordinator of the National Salvation Front, a coalition of political parties dedicated to opposing what they see as President Mohamed Morsi’s attempts to secure power for himself and impose a new constitution favouring Islamist parties. Reflecting widespread concern about Morsi’s actions, ElBaradei has accused the president of appointing himself “Egypt’s new pharaoh.”
10. Daniel Kahneman
Since the publication of Thinking, Fast and Slow in 2011, Daniel Kahneman has become an unlikely resident at the top of the bestseller lists. His face has even appeared on posters on the London Underground, with only two words of explanation: “Thinking Kahneman.” Although he is a psychologist by training, his work on our capacity for making irrational decisions helped create the field of behavioural economics, and he was awarded the Nobel prize for economics in 2002. His book has now brought these insights to a wider audience, making them more influential than ever.
Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Thu Apr 25, 2013, 10:51 AM (0 replies)
Prisoners who are psychopaths lack the basic neurophysiological "hardwiring" that enables them to care for others, according to a new study by neuroscientists at the University of Chicago and the University of New Mexico.
"A marked lack of empathy is a hallmark characteristic of individuals with psychopathy," said the lead author of the study, Jean Decety, the Irving B. Harris Professor in Psychology and Psychiatry at UChicago. Psychopathy affects approximately 1 percent of the United States general population and 20 percent to 30 percent of the male and female U.S. prison population. Relative to non-psychopathic criminals, psychopaths are responsible for a disproportionate amount of repetitive crime and violence in society.
"This is the first time that neural processes associated with empathic processing have been directly examined in individuals with psychopathy, especially in response to the perception of other people in pain or distress," he added.
The results of the study, which could help clinical psychologists design better treatment programs for psychopaths, are published in the article, "Brain Responses to Empathy-Eliciting Scenarios Involving Pain in Incarcerated Individuals with Psychopathy," which appears online April 24 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
Joining Decety in the study were Laurie Skelly, a graduate student at UChicago; and Kent Kiehl, professor of psychology at the University of New Mexico.
For the study, the research team tested 80 prisoners between ages 18 and 50 at a correctional facility. The men volunteered for the test and were tested for levels of psychopathy using standard measures.
Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Thu Apr 25, 2013, 08:10 AM (2 replies)
Nasa's $800m Mars Exploration Rovers have accidentally drawn a penis.
The twin exploration vehicles Spirit and Opportunity were launched nine years ago, in an effort to search the surface of Mars for signs of water erosion and possibly even life.
According to Nasa, since then the rovers have driven over more than 10km of Martian land, directed by teams back on Earth combined with autonomous cameras designed to avoid potential problems with the terrain.
It appears that part of the robots' programming involves spinning in tight circles to test nearby terrain and find new routes.
Humorously, depending on your age perhaps, that has the unfortunate consequence of drawing a certain shape on the surface, which when discovered by Reddit essentially crashed Nasa's website.
Quick! comb the desert!
Its not from curiosity but the other PROBE Opportunity.
which is another joke.
Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Wed Apr 24, 2013, 10:22 AM (4 replies)
In what appears to be a truly bizarre coda to the 2012 presidential election, a former aide to Rep. Paul Ryan and campaign staffer to Speaker Newt Gingrich has been arrested and charged with Internet extortion and cyberstalking. Adam Savader, 21, got some unwanted attention from GOP activists on blogs and Twitter as his dirty laundry was discovered. Oh, and was arrested by the FBI yesterday.
A 21-year-old Great Neck, New York man was charged in a criminal complaint in the Eastern District of Michigan with Internet extortion and cyber stalking, announced United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade.
Joining in the announcement were Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley, III, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Chief John Seto, Ann Arbor Police Department.
According to the affidavit, from May 2012 through February 2013, Adam Paul Savader sent anonymous text messages using Google Voice numbers to 15 women stating that he had nude photographs of the women and threatening to distribute the nude photographs to the women’s friends and family members unless the women sent him more nude photographs of themselves. Savader sent some of the victims links to a photo-sharing website where nude pictures of the victims had been posted.
The case was brought to the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation by detectives from the Ann Arbor Police Department, who received a complaint from a victim stating that she had received threatening messages from a person who had illegally obtained nude photographs of her from her e-mail account. Detectives with the Ann Arbor P.D. partnered with FBI agents to investigate the case and together identified 15 victims in Detroit; Washington, D.C.; and Long Island, New York.
If convicted on these charges, Savader faces a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment.
Savader is currently in federal custody in New York awaiting removal to Michigan.
for more creepy part of the story:
Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Wed Apr 24, 2013, 02:38 AM (4 replies)
I placed in DU Creative Speculation.
Don't know how long it will last on youtube
Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Tue Apr 23, 2013, 10:55 AM (8 replies)
Catch it before its removed.
I just started watching it just only came up in the last hour.
from the link:
WHAT WILL YOU SEE?
Dr. Steven Greer, founder of the worldwide Disclosure Movement and the Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence is working with Emmy award winning filmmaker Amardeep Kaleka and his team at Neverending Light Productions to produce one of the most significant films of our time.
This film exposes the greatest story never told:
Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Tue Apr 23, 2013, 10:48 AM (37 replies)
BOSTON -- The White House said Monday that the surviving Boston bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, would not be tried as an enemy combatant but would be prosecuted as a terrorist under civilian law.
White House spokesman Jay Carney's statement appeared to resolve several days of questions about what Tsarnaev's legal status would be. Carney cited a number of successful prosecutions in U.S. courts of terrorism suspects.
Seven days after the Boston Marathon bombings, the city was bustling Monday, with runners hitting the pavement, children walking to school and enough cars clogging the streets to make the morning commute feel almost back to normal in the hours before the traumatic week would be marked with mournful silence.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has asked residents to observe a moment of silence at 2:50 p.m. Monday, the time the first of the two bombs exploded near the finish line. Bells will toll across the city and state after the minute-long tribute to the victims.
Thank you Obama
Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Mon Apr 22, 2013, 01:22 PM (5 replies)
One hour presentation in english. Recorded in Istanbul
Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Mon Apr 22, 2013, 11:03 AM (0 replies)
Archaeologists, excavating near the Royal Borough, have discovered the 4400 year old gold-adorned skeleton of an upper class woman who was almost certainly a member of the local ruling elite.
She is the earliest known woman adorned with such treasures ever found in Britain.
The individual, aged around 40, was buried, wearing a necklace of folded sheet gold, amber and lignite beads, just a century or two after the construction of Stonehenge some 60 miles to the south-west. Even the buttons, thought to have been used to secure the upper part of her now long-vanished burial garment, were made of amber. She also appears to have worn a bracelet of lignite beads.
The archaeologist in charge of the excavation, Gareth Chaffey of Wessex Archaeology, believes that she may have been a person of power – perhaps even the prehistoric equivalent of a princess or queen.
It’s known that in southern Britain, some high status men of that era – the Copper Age – had gold possessions, but this is the first time archaeologists have found a woman of that period being accorded the same sort of material status.
Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Mon Apr 22, 2013, 04:11 AM (18 replies)
(Reuters) - The fertilizer plant that exploded on Wednesday, obliterating part of a small Texas town and killing at least 14 people, had last year been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Yet a person familiar with DHS operations said the company that owns the plant, West Fertilizer, did not tell the agency about the potentially explosive fertilizer as it is required to do, leaving one of the principal regulators of ammonium nitrate - which can also be used in bomb making - unaware of any danger there.
Fertilizer plants and depots must report to the DHS when they hold 400 lb (180 kg) or more of the substance. Filings this year with the Texas Department of State Health Services, which weren't shared with DHS, show the plant had 270 tons of it on hand last year.
A U.S. congressman and several safety experts called into question on Friday whether incomplete disclosure or regulatory gridlock may have contributed to the disaster.
Posted by Ichingcarpenter | Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:04 AM (22 replies)